Newstalk
Newstalk

14.36 23 May 2020


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A system of tiered isolation could be applied to people coming to Ireland form areas with low COVID-19 infection rates.

That is according to infectious diseases specialist Professor Sam McConkey from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI).

Under new regulations, people who do not fill in a locator form indicating where they will be self-isolating may face a six-month prison term or a fine of up to €2,500.

The regulations also cover situations where people offer false or misleading information, or if someone fails to update their details if they change address within the two weeks of isolation.

The measures will come into effect from next Thursday, and will remain in place until at least June 18th.

The Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan has said they are also looking at making two weeks of self-isolation mandatory for those entering the country .

However more needs to be done before it can be brought in.

Prof McConkey believes it is important people declare where they have been.

"It's not just where people have immediately come from that matters, it's where they've been in the previous 14 days.

"So perhaps we need to do a travel history from each person who's arriving - where's their body been for the previous 14 days - and use that to risk-stratify how much mandatory self-isolation they need.

"If it's from an area with a very low amount of transmission, then it may be fine that they can just walk freely."

He also says there are ways to make the journey from the airport safer.

"Maybe we should be giving them some face coverings when they arrive in and saying 'this is to wear on public transport'.

"It's also possible to re-profile taxis to put up, for example, a perspex guard that separates the air in the back seat where the passengers are from the front seat where the drivers are.

"As they say 'Italian air conditioning', drive with the windows open - which if fine in the summer, but not good in the winter - and to clean the taxis between users.

"So it possible to use taxis which are slightly safer".

Main image: People are seen in Terminal One at Dublin Airport in this file photo. Picture by: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

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